Trash in neighborhood raises concerns for neighbors

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- The city’s plan to deliver trash to a spot near an Albuquerque community is not sitting well with neighbors. The city says the new multi-million dollar facility will cut down on costs but neighbors say it will increase traffic, for starters.

The idea is to tear down the current building and build a $39 million complex, including a transfer station. The project is in the planning stages right now but residents in the area are already concerned.

John Moya hauls a lot of trash for his job. It’s why he calls the proposed transfer station down the street from his house, a double-edged sword.

“I live down here in the north valley which is going to create a lot of traffic and hassle sometimes but, it’s going to be nicer because it’s here closer to home,” says Moya.

While a transfer station nearby will keep him from going all the way to Rio Rancho to drop off trash, he worries about increased garbage truck trash.

Yet, not everyone in his neighborhood sees an upside.

“Every morning, once at least in the middle of the day and once in the evening, all coming to one spot. There’s a bicycle lane on Griegos, it’s dangerous now because there’s a lot of traffic.” Jill Gatwood remembers the cyclist hit by a garbage truck only a few years ago and worries there could be more victims with more traffic.

Yet, she also worries more truck traffic could bring more pollution and then there are her concerns about litter.

“That would be open for private use so, anybody who has a truckload of garbage tied down however they do on the back of their truck or on a trailer can get in line and dump their trash there, too,” said Gatwood.

As big as this project is, Gatwood is perplexed as to why the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association wasn’t involved earlier in the process.

“It’s premature to say that because we just started, there was no earlier in the process,” says Solid Waste Director Jill Holbert.

Holbert says the transfer station would be part of the solid waste’s new facility which would also include administration and vehicle maintenance facilities. Trucks already start and end their day at Comanche and Edith.

She says they’ve just begun the discussion and so far findings from a feasibility and traffic study are positive.

“We’re hoping to save anywhere from $4.4 million to $10 million a year just by not taking that extra trip out to the landfill with all of our collection vehicles but, instead, consolidating it into 18 wheelers which are much more efficient to haul it out to the landfill,” explains Holbert.

It saves time for garbage trucks who can return to their route instead of heading to the landfill to drop off trash. Plus, she says the trucks would be on a designated route, sticking only to Comanche and I-25 unless they’re picking up trash.

“We would add to some of the traffic but, that’s definitely something we need to look at in the design phase is how to deal with bicycle traffic to try to mitigate that through the design,” says Holbert.

Holbert says this isn’t a done deal yet. She says the public will be included in both the planning and permit stages.

The city says the project is several years out and, if approved, wouldn’t open until around 2018.

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